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Florence motel a no-go for county commission

Staff writer

Marion County Commissioner Dan Holub made a motion for the county to take ownership of the Holiday Motel in Florence.

The motion languished for minutes as commissioners Roger Fleming and Randy Dallke continued to discuss the proposal. They contemplated the action in silence in two separate instances.

“Who’s going to be the workhorse?” Dallke asked.

“Searching for a buyer, making phone calls,” Fleming added.

“I’ll do it,” Holub said. “These things don’t get handed to you.”

Holub continued that he hoped someone in Marion County would acquire the property and run it professionally. The terms of the potential purchase were that the property stay a motel, the roof be replaced, tree trimmed and the mountain of accumulated back taxes be paid, nearly $30,000 worth. Payment of the delinquent property taxes could constitute a down payment, Holub offered.

Without an interested buyer ready, Fleming and Dallke remained hesitant. When Holub pushed the motion again, Fleming and Dallke would not give it a second.

“I guess I’m just really scared to acquire this property,” Fleming said. “I just want to get our back taxes.”

The South Central Kansas Economic Development District, the organization that has the lien on the property, also informed the commission that there was a party interested in the property through the organization. Fleming and Dallke suggested the commission at least wait to find out what happens with the potential buyer.

Still determined, Holub said he would contact SCKEDD and try to find out more information.

Road closing

The commission scheduled a hearing, Jan. 23, to close 310th Road between Bison and Chisholm Roads.

Landowners along the road, Gerald Unruh and Gayland Martens, asked for the closure. The stretch of country road had been the site of dumping of 18 tires and vandalism with shotgun blasts through street signs.

The commission was also persuaded at the prospect of saving money. Three bridges along the road need repairs, Unruh said. Part of the road closure motion was placing a large rock to support part of the eastern bridge but they would avoid repairing erosion on the bridges. The two farmers said the bridges were ineffective because they already avoid them when driving large grain trucks and tractors.

County road and bridge workers will put up a gate at either end of the road that dead ends further west if the closure is approved. Fleming said a gate was a better option than a pole and cable lock system.

“With a motorcycle going across, you could see a decapitation really easily,” Fleming said.

In other business:

  • County Appraiser Cindy Magill brought up four properties owned by the City of Florence. The city is currently paying taxes on the properties, but the properties should be exempt, Magill said. The fee for applying for a tax exemption is $400. The fee was $50 last year when the office tried to inform Florence. Paying $100 or more in properties taxes for each property, Magill said it was worth it for the city for apply for the exemption. Dallke said he would tell Florence City Council.
  • Magill reported that because her department has one more employee they have time to search for county residents with personal property. A list from the Federal Aviation Administration featured many Marion County Residents with airplanes that have not paid taxes, some since the mid 1990s. Magill said the office will be making more searches like this. The council decided to only inform taxpayers for the 2012 year, and not make them pay for the previous two years as suggested by the state.
  • The commission discussed the construction and demolition waste program with Zoning Director Tonya Richards and Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt. The county waives the fee for waste costs, $40 a ton, from demolitions of derelict or unsightly properties. Property owners must apply through the zoning department for the fee waiver. They still must pay for the demolition and waste transport. Schmidt said the program costs his department $10,000 in fees. The commission will review the program further in two weeks.
  • The commission approved two part-time licensed practical nurses for the Health Department — Cynthia Reeh and Sadee Nichols — at the recommendation of administrator Diedre Serene.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford asked the commission for permission to fill a position of an equipment driver and mechanic. Crawford is looking within the department first.
  • The commission approved a 50-cent raise for corrections officer Lee Vogel. Sheriff Robert Craft said he wanted to have three jailers by mid-March or April before the new jail is scheduled to be finished.
  • The commission approved a bid of $6,807 from Ag Service for 2,4-D LV chemical for the Noxious Weed Department.
  • Larry Reddick of Ergon Asphalt talked to the commission and Crawford about chip sealing techniques. Reddick planned a chip sealing training session with the Road and Bridge Department early in 2012.
  • The commission approved a public meeting Jan. 17 with Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards to discuss zoning regulation changes.
  • The commission asked Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini to find out how much narrow banding would cost for the county radio system. D’Albini wanted a complete update with new radios, which he estimated to cost $960,012. The commission was not keen on the idea.

The next commission meeting will be Dec. 27.

Last modified Dec. 22, 2011

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